Spin Zone: The Bruins’ Injuries Might Be The Best Thing For Them

( Photo Credit: Winslow Towson/ USA TODAY Sports )

By: Cam McCusker | Follow Me On Twitter: @CSthinks

 

There are no typos in that title. I typed all of those words on purpose.

David Pastrnak, Jake DeBrusk, Kevan Miller, Marcus Johansson, and most recently Matt Grzelcyk have been sidelined with injuries during the Bruins’ impressive stretch of hockey over the last month and a half. While thankfully none of these injuries are all that severe, they did leave the Bruins shorthanded.

Certainly, many human beings with brains will look at the short term impacts that these injuries have on the roster and say it made the Black and Gold a weaker team. To those people, I offer this: Duh. But as a Bruins homer and a semi-rationally-thinking hockey fan, these injuries have been a blessing. They are perfect injuries, and I love them.

“But Cam, tell us why! We want to know!”

Relax. I’m getting to that. Don’t interrupt me.

As I was saying, I am truly proud of the Bruins’ ability to get injured in just the right ways. When compared to the severity of injuries that Brandon Carlo and Torey Krug underwent in the tail end of last season, the Bruins’ have learned from their mistakes and are getting injured in a much smarter way.

All of the Bruins that have been injured in the last month or so have done so in a way that only sidelines them for at most a month. The use of the expression “at most” is misplaced here, but I really enjoy the expression. Obviously, David Pastrnak has been out for a month already so he might have singlehandedly (nice) voided the credibility of my use of the expression. But he’ll be back soon, so I’ll allow it.

Here are the three reasons why these injuries, to important pieces of the Bruins lineup, are crucial to the team’s playoff success.

1. Secondary Scoring/Depth

David Pastrnak’s injury in the second week of February effectively removed the Bruins’ leading scorer at the time. For a team that had been plagued by a lack of depth until recently, this loss might have seemed more grave at the time than it ended up being. Pastrnak’s absence (his Pastrnabsence, if you will) thrust the responsibility of scoring onto the rest of the lineup. And the rest of the B’s, since his injury, has not only added key deadline pieces to address their secondary scoring but have answered the bell and then some (see: ridiculous point streak). A team that can survive, and even thrive without debatably their most lethal offensive threat, will only be that much stronger when they get him back. Very nice (Borat voice).

( Photo Credit: Maddie Meyer/ Getty Images )

2. Saving Legs

While the injuries come to key cogs in the machine that is the Bruins’ lineup, their ability to keep the machine running effectively in the absence of these cogs has been impressive. The aspect of so many key players being out for brief hiatuses is that despite being injured, they are also saving their legs for the playoff stretch. While some rust can certainly be expected from each Bruin upon their respective returns, they will have just enough time to dust off the cobwebs and get back to midseason form come postseason time.

The timing of this “rest” is auspicious given that it is coming in the dog days of the season when the Bruins begin a stretch where they essentially play every other day for a month. If the team can keep winning while some of your top dogs lick their wounds, then expect to win more when they rejoin the pack (I got really into dog metaphors for a minute).

3. Accountability

Undoubtedly, injuries bring added pressure to the regulars in the lineup, as they are subsequently tasked with shouldering the load that their fallen comrade might have been expected to carry. This is true of any team. But what Bruce Cassidy has done in the absence of Pastrnak, DeBrusk, Johansson, Miller, and now Grzelcyk has been interesting—he’s shortened the bench even more.

While the injuries to the aforementioned Bruins already shorten what would be a healthy bench, Cassidy went even further in a few games by sitting players like Peter Cehlarik, Charlie Coyle, and John Moore.  While none of them had been playing all that poorly, Cassidy sent a clear message that if players weren’t putting their best effort or product on the ice, then they were no longer going to see the ice. Fortunately, it seemed like these instances of Cassidy sitting guys down paid off, and the Bruins found ways to win with their shortened bench.

While there is certainly a school of thought that might scrutinize players having too short of a leash, Cassidy has proven time and again that he knows how to get the best out of his players. The heightened responsibility created by the Bruins injuries has placed many of the remaining healthy B’s under the microscope. The focus on their play in the absence of important players has only worked to make them more accountable as a unit and as individuals.

( Photo Credit: Maddie Meyer/ Getty Images )

So there’s your spin zone. Obviously, most players will play better in the short term if their lungs aren’t bruised, or their hands aren’t broken, blah blah blah. And a healthy team will be better in the short term with healthier players. But in the case of the Bruins, I think it’s reasonable to expect that this most recent period of success combined with adversity will be looked back on as a turning point in the season.

All the teams in movies have one.

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Bruins Recall Trent Frederic From Providence

d7fff791-615e-4250-836c-20a10a25c5d4-nhl_fight_fredericPhoto Courtesy Of USA Today

By: Garrett Haydon | Follow Me On Twitter @thesportsguy97

Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney announced Tuesday morning, that the team has recalled forward Trent Frederic from Providence on an emergency basis.

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Frederic has skated in 11 games for the Bruins this season, making his NHL debut on January 29th in Boston against the Winnipeg Jets. The 21-year-old has also skated in 45 games for Providence this season, posting 11 goals and nine assists for 20 points. He also skated in 13 games for Providence last season, posting five goals and three assists for eight points. Frederic spent two season at the University of Wisconsin, totaling 32 goals and 33 assists for 65 points in 66 career games.

The St. Louis, Missouri native was selected by the Bruins in the first round (29th overall) of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft. Frederic played pretty solid hockey in his time with the varsity club, despite not posting any points. With the Bruins needing an extra body after sending down Lee Stempniak yesterday, Frederic got the call. It’ll be interesting to see where the young forward slides into the lineup but it’s probably assumed he takes up the third line center spot. This should mean that we see Charlie Coyle on the second line tonight against Columbus.

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Coyle and MoJo Make Bruins’ PowerPlay Even More Lethal

( Photo Credit: USA TODAY Sports )

By: Cam McCusker | Follow me on Twitter @CSthinks

 

The forward depth and secondary scoring were issues that the Boston Bruins needed to address between the start of the season and the playoffs. While the play of the team itself had certainly improved prior to the trade deadline, the Bruins’ recent acquisitions put them over the top.

Fans who scoffed at the names Charlie Coyle and Marcus Johansson because neither was pursued heavily by cup contenders are frustrating at best. These fans also have likely never watched either player at length to effectively assess what it is they bring to the table.

I could go for days on how Dirty Don swindled the entire league by flying under the radar to stealthily scoop up two of the most attractive forward options at the deadline. Charlie Coyle brings a puck possessing, playmaking grittiness to the Bruins’ middle 6. Marcus Johansson brings a smooth skating, puck-possessing, playmaking style of hockey to the Bruins’ middle 6.

( Photo Credit: The Athletic )

Hey, look at that! Our middle 6 just got twice as good. What were those issues we were talking about earlier? Forward depth and secondary scoring? Smell ya later.

Power Play Bonus

But what goes unnoticed with these two is just how deadly they’ll make the already prolific Bruins’ powerplay, which currently sits at 3rd in the league in efficiency.

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Charlie Coyle is a smooth skating big body who makes plays and has a silky set of mitts. Marcus Johansson is a proven playmaker who was raised on the power play. I’ve heard several reports that his first word was “sauce.” Put a big body like Coyle in front of the net or in the slot (catch ya later, Backes), or let him make plays from the half wall. Tell Johansson to post up on the goal line and have fun. I mean the guy’s name is MoJo—I’m pretty sure he knows how to thread the needle through a few triangles.

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Is it shocking that two proven power play contributors will get time on the powerplay? Absolutely not. But what the rest of the league might not be ready for is the depth that Coyle and Johansson bring to the Bruins’ second unit. Until recently, the B’s have essentially utilized their first powerplay unit. Not exclusively, but it wasn’t unlikely to see Torey Krug’s unit on the ice for more than a minute and a half of a 2-minute peeper.

Granted, the unit had proven to still be effective when tired or when deep into a powerplay. But the additional minutes that the first PP unit has played due to the once massive drop off in efficiency between the two units certainly has the potential to creep in during crunch time. If you’re fuzzy on this phenomenon, maybe watch the game film of the Bruins’ last few overtime games. Holy flatness.

Now that there’s a second unit that can wheel and deal, expect the Bruins’ to continue dummy PK units that are forced to share the same ice surface. Two effective units mean shorter, more fast-paced shifts that will wear down opposing defensemen and penalty killers while keeping the Bruins’ top dogs fresh for later in the game when the bench shortens.

That’s just about as simple and abbreviated as anyone could make the positive effects that Coyle and Johansson have on the Bruins’ lineup.

But I’m a simple man.

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Bruins Post-Game Recap: New Jersey at Boston: 3/2/19

1321351_Devils_Bruins_Hockey_43376.-1024x688Photo Courtesy Of Kennebec Journal

By: Garrett Haydon | Follow Me On Twitter @thesportsguy97

Pre-Game Notes

Arena: TD Garden, Boston, Massachusetts

Home: Boston Bruins (38-17-9)

Away: New Jersey Devils (25-32-8)

Boston’s Lineup

Forwards

Marchand-Bergeron-Heinen

DeBrusk-Krejci-Johansson

Cehlarik-Coyle-Backes

Nordstrom-Acciari-Wagner

Defense

Chara-McAvoy

Carlo-Krug

Grzelcyk-Moore

Goalies

Rask

Halak

New Jersey’s Lineup

Forwards

Bratt-Hischier-Stafford

Agostino-Zajac-Coleman

Pietela-McLeod-Lappin

Yakovlev-Rooney-Anderson

Defense

Greene-Severson

Vatanen-Carrick

Butcher-Santini

Goalies

Blackwood

Schneider

First Period

The Bruins picked up their first power play of the game just 2:23 in as they looked to get off to a fast start. Brad Marchand did just that with a man advantage strike just 14 seconds into the penalty after a great feed from Patrice Bergeron.

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The Bruins looked amped up to start as they manufactured a few scoring chances in the opening moments. Marchand made a great steal in the defensive zone and was hooked on his way to the net, resulting in a penalty shot which was denied by Mackenzie Blackwood.

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The Bruins continued to have solid shifts in the attacking zone which helped them gain an offensive rhythm in the opening period. The Devils found a little possession towards the midway point of the period but weren’t able to find many scoring opportunities. The Bruins third line continued their strong period with another good shift that nearly resulted in the lead being doubled.

The Devils responded with a good shift and got a power play after a slashing call to Brandon Carlo with three minutes left in the period. The Bruins killed off the penalty without yielding any shots and went to the room still up by a goal.

Score: 1-0 Bruins

Second Period

The Bruins picked up right where they left off in the second period with a couple of good shifts by the second and third lines. For the most part however, the B’s were held to the outside and didn’t get many great opportunities like they did in the first period. The Devils had much more possession in the second period but couldn’t do much with it as Tuukka Rask continued to have a quiet night in goal.

Rask made a huge stop on a two on one to keep it a one goal game as the Devils got their best chance of the game. The Devils would pick up their second power play of the game as Peter Cehlarik went to the box with under five minutes to go in the period. The B’s killed the penalty without giving up many significant scoring chances.

The Bruins started to get their legs back in the final moments of the second period as they looked to extend the slim lead. The third line again had a great shift by both Charlie Coyle and Cehlarik were denied in the final seconds of the period.

Score: 1-0 Bruins

Third Period

The fourth line of the Bruins opened the period with a hard, charging shift that nearly resulted in the lead being doubled but Blackwood continued to have a good night to keep it 1-0. The Devils responded with a solid shift but Rask made a big save on a shot from distance by Sami Vatanen to maintain the B’s lead. The Bruins continued their good defensive game with some nice stick play to prevent a couple of New Jersey odd man rushes.

The final period continued to move quickly as neither team found a lot of chances, although the Devils did get a couple chances about midway through the period but Rask denied Jesper Bratt and Drew Stafford in quick succession. The Bruins began to move their legs in the latter half of the final frame and got chances but were still unable to beat Blackwood.

The Devils pulled the goalie with about 1:30 to play, trying to tie the game desperately. The New Jersey rally ultimately fell short as the B’s picked up the win.

Final Score: 1-0 Bruins

Three Stars Of The Game

First Star: Rask. While not incredibly busy, Number 40 looked great in this one and made a couple huge stops as he earned his third shutout of the season.

Second Star: Marchand. In 666th game, Marchand was very solid as he found the back of the net for the only goal of the game.

Third Star: Coyle. The third liner had another good performance as his line continued their solid play as of late.

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What Will The Bruins Forward Lines Look Like With Pastrnak Healthy?

usa-david-pastrnak_0.jpg

(Photo Credit: USA Today Images)

By: Lucas Pearson  |  Follow Me On Twitter @lucaspearson_

Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-Danton Heinen

Jake Debrusk-David Krejci- Karson Kuhlman

Joakim Nordstrom- Trent Frederic- David Backes

Sean Kuraly- Noel Acciari- Chris Wagner

These were the not-so-impressive lines from when the Bruins played the Sharks on February 18th. The Bs still managed to get a big win (albeit controversial) with this group of forwards. In a few weeks, the Bruins will have their all-star forward back in David Pastrnak. Pasta, along with the trade-deadline additions of Charlie Coyle and Marcus Johansson will make the Bruins forward depth incredibly deep and dangerous. The question remains still, what does this lineup look like with a healthy roster?

There’s a lot of things to take into account. Could Pastrnak slide back in on the 2nd line with Jake Debrusk and David Krejci? Johansson seemed to have immediate chemistry in his first game with Krejci and Debrusk on the 2nd line. He played very well, and that line generated a lot of really good scoring chances throughout the game, including a pretty tic-tac-toe goal from the trio. If that line continues to gain more chemistry, it’s probably worth keeping them together.

Danton Heinen Bruins

(Photo Credit: Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Maybe Cassidy decides to reunite the super-line. Obviously, the combination of Marchand, Bergeron, and Pastrnak is arguably the best line in hockey but with Danton Heinen finally finding his game and the 1st line still producing at a high level, it would be interesting to keep the line together and try out Pastrnak on the 3rd line.

Pastrnak on the 3rd line? How do can you put a PPG player on the 3rd line and still expect him to produce? Well, a man by the name of Phil Kessel did that and look where it got the Penguins. The notorious HBK line consisted of Carl Hagelin, Nick Bonino, and Kessel, and was a huge reason why the Penguins were able to win their 2016 Stanley Cup. The ability to have three lines that can score at will is very hard to come by, especially in the playoffs.

It’s very likely the Bruins will end up playing the Toronto Maple Leafs in the first round of the playoffs. The Leafs also tout a very effective 3rd line, with former 30 goal scorer, Nazim Kadri centering rookie Andrea Johnsson, who has 19 goals and 36 points in 56 games and William Nylander, who’s coming off of back to back 61 points years. I’d say a line of Pastrnak, Charlie Coyle and David Backes (who looks a lot better playing with Coyle) would be a match-up favorable to the Bruins.

With that top 9, and a 4th line that coach Bruce Cassidy can throw out against almost any other line, Cassidy can pick and choose his match-ups and expect great results. There may not be a deeper forward group in the NHL.

(Photo Credit: Christopher Evans/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald)

In all honesty, I think Cassidy will end up resorting to putting Pasta back on the top line, but I really do think it’s at least worth a shot to test Pastrnak on the third. Even with the super-line, Cassidy can just pick and choose who he wants in the lineup. They have so many options with the additions at the deadline. Coyle can end up playing with Krejci or continue to play well at 3C. Johansson had a lot of success in Washington with Nick Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin, so maybe he’s another guy to try out on the top line. Rookie Karson Kuhlman and Peter Cehlarik both looked at home in their handful of games with the Bruins and played on the 2nd and 3rd line but look to be healthy scratches as of now. Even Joakim Nordstrom has seen looks all throughout the lineup this year and continues to be a speedy, defensively reliable player. The Bruins have options galore.

Now at the end of the day, whatever group of forwards the Bruins throw out will be a really good one. The acquisitions at the deadline give this team a brand new feel and make them a real Stanley Cup contender. Oh boy, are playoffs going to be fun.

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Bruins Held Buyer Mentality In A Division Full Of Sellers

Image result for marcus johansson bruins

(Photo Credit: (Christopher Evans/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald)

By: Mike Cratty  |  Follow Me On Twitter @Mike_Cratty

The trade deadline came and passed on Monday, and the Bruins found themselves in a unique company amongst their divisional foes. In acquiring Charlie Coyle and Marcus Johansson, the Bruins were certainly buyers.

The only other big buyer moves in the division came in the form of the Sabres acquiring defenseman Brandon Montour from the Ducks. Other minor moves came in the form of the Red Wings acquiring defenseman Madison Bowey from the Red Wings, and the Canadiens acquiring forward Jordan Weal from the Coyotes.

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Major pieces were sold off in the Atlantic division such as Matt Duchene, Mark Stone, Ryan Dzingel, and Gustav Nyquist. In every trade comes the selling off of pieces, but the Bruins, in this case, gave up one prospect in Ryan Donato, and some draft picks in the next two drafts. The Bruins’ acquisitions of key pieces moving forward in Coyle and Johansson separated them from the rest. Coyle and Johansson are set to play large roles in Boston’s top-nine forward core, while other Atlantic division teams were sellers and/or didn’t make quite the splash that the Bruins did on the buyers market.

These acquisitions not only make the Bruins a better team but give them a variety of options in which to shape their lineup. It also gives them the potential to try out different looks on their special teams’ units as they did last night. The two newest Bruins forwards saw power play time for the Bruins last night, both with 2:27 of it.

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Both Coyle and Johansson have played the wing and center in the past, which is important in a league in which teams seem to be more appreciative of versatile players as time goes on.

Coyle has looked solid in two games so far as a Bruin, but Johansson made an immediate impact last night in a wild game in San Jose. Despite only tallying two shots on goal in 14:49 of ice time, Johansson was certainly impactful in the offensive zone with puck possession and had one high danger chance that was thwarted by Martin Jones. The highlight of his night for Johansson came from his assist on a beautiful tic-tac-toe goal by Jake DeBrusk, with David Krejci also in the mix on the goal.

So far being buyers is certainly paying off for the Bruins. Don Sweeney capitalized on valuable assets without giving up a ton due to his team being in a position to compete for a Stanley Cup. The next step is finding long-term comfortability for the rest of the season and potentially beyond for Coyle and Johansson, as well as the team as a whole as they pursue a deep cup run.

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Did the Bruins Give up on Ryan Donato too Early?

NHL: MAR 19 Blue Jackets at Bruins

(Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire)

By: Lucas Pearson  |  Follow Me On Twitter @lucaspearson_

With the trading frenzy over, one of the Bruins’ new toys is Weymouth native Charlie Coyle. Now without getting too into the trade, I think the Coyle is a good fit with the Bruins; he checks a lot of boxes that Boston needs. He can play center and wing, he plays a heavy game, he’s still young at 26 and on a good contract for another year. Getting a quality player like Coyle comes with a price, and that price for the Bruins ended up being the young Ryan Donato.

Now while I like the acquisition of Coyle, I don’t like how early they gave up on Ryan Donato. Obviously, he’s far from a perfect player, but I really think he has what it takes to be a successful forward in the NHL.

Ryan Donato - Ryan Donato goes back to school after standout performance at Winter Games – what a difference a few days make

(Getty Images)

Donato has clearly shown what he can do when he’s on his game. In the 2018 Winter Olympics, the 2014 2nd rounder averaged a goal-per-game in the five games he played overseas. In college, he was an incredible player and ended up being a Hobey Baker nominee at Harvard. Even in his first 12 games in the NHL, he had 5 goals and 9 points. Not too shabby.

Entering his first full season in the pros, there was a lot expected of Donato. Coming off of a year full of accomplishments, the 22-year-old did not impress. After 11 games and just one goal, Donato was sent down to Providence.

After his month stint in the AHL, Donato was recalled, and it was clear the time in the minors helped him. He was a lot stronger on the puck, and his confidence started to emerge yet again. He was still inconsistent but still, put together a string of really good games. In the end, the Bruins front-office decided it was more beneficial for Donato to continue his growth in the AHL.

GOLD STAR:

(Credit-nbcsports.com/boston/bruins)

In Boston, Donato really never had a real shot to prove himself. Earlier in the season when the B’s needed some more depth scoring, I brought up the idea to split up the first line and put either Danton Heinen or Donato for a chance to showcase their skills with two. After a great rookie season, Heinen struggled to find the score sheet earlier this year. Similar to Donato, Heinen was still playing solid hockey (notably a better two-way game), but nothing was working for him. Much of that can be attributed to the revolving door of 3rd liners he was playing with. 

Obviously, the Bruins ended up giving Heinen a shot on the 1st line, and the experiment ended up being a great idea. Heinen has now found his game and (before his injury) Pastrnak elevated the 2nd line’s play; the Bs started to look like a real force in the league again.

Speaking of Pastrnak, he’s another player that followed similar footsteps as Donato had. Pastrnak’s first two seasons were filled with inconsistencies. There was no questioning his skill, but he was really shaky defensively and clearly needed to get a lot stronger. In the 2016 offseason, his second offseason with the Bruins, Pasta bulked up and definitely grew as a player. The next season, he got his chance with Bergeron and Marchand on the top line, and we all know how that ended up working out.

Nov 25, 2015; Detroit, MI, USA; Boston Bruins center Frank Vatrano (72) celebrates is game winning overtime goal against the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena. Boston won 2-3 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

(Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports)

Another player I tend to compare Donato to is former Bruin, Frank Vatrano. He’s another local kid that plays a very similar style. The two are both relatively small, agile players that rely on their great shot to elevate their game. Now Vatrano wasn’t a great Bruin by any means, but similar to Donato, he showed a ton of potential. In the AHL he scored 36 goals in just as many games in the 2015-16 season. Last year, after a tough start with the Bruins, Vatrano was traded to the Florida Panthers for a 3rd round pick. Now that he’s gotten a legitimate shot with legitimate linemates, Vatrano has a chance to hit the 30 goal mark this year.

Prospects TAKE TIME. Not every 21-year-old is going to light up the league in his first full season. Last season at around this time, everyone was clambering over how amazing Ryan Donato was going to be. Now that he hasn’t blown anyone away in his first true season with the big club, he gets traded. The kid is still only 22 years old. I’m not saying he would’ve been a 40 goal scorer just because he got a chance on the top line, but it was definitely worth a shot this season, or even next year after he gets stronger and grows as a player even more over the offseason. Maybe Donato never fit into the Bruin’s future, but at the end of the day, trading him now is NOT capitalizing on his value. The Bruins just gave up too early on him.

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Grading The Bruins’ 2019 Trade Deadline

Marcus-Johansson.jpg

(Image: Fred Kfoury III / Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

By: Patrick Donnelly | Follow me on Twitter @PatDonn12

The NHL Trade Deadline has come and gone, and the Bruins made three additions in total, trading for Marcus Johansson and Charlie Coyle in addition to signing Lee Stempniak. Here are my grades for each of the Bruins’ Trade Deadline moves:

Bruins acquire Marcus Johansson for a 2019 2nd-rounder and a 2020 4th-rounder

Grade: B+

Just as it looked like the Bruins were going to let the deadline pass them by without adding another player, news of this trade broke. Johansson brings skill and versatility to the Bruins’ top-nine (likely the second or third line) as he can play center and both wings. Although not the big name Bruins fans were clamoring for, he can still be an effective player for the Bruins down the stretch.

This season, Johansson has 12-15-27 numbers in 48 games played, on pace for 17-21-38 totals in 68 games played. However, if Johansson were healthy all season, the 28-year-old would be on pace for 21-26-47 totals in 82 games played, for what it’s worth. Johansson also has 6-6-12 numbers in his last 13 games played.

Over his nine-year career between Washington and New Jersey, Johansson has scored at least 20 goals twice and has totaled at least 40 points five times to go along with one 50-point year. Just two years ago, the Swede had 24-34-58 in a career season, his final with the Capitals.

New Jersey will retain 40% of Johansson’s salary too (he now has a cap hit of $2.75-millions), which helps the Bruins avoid overages that could eat up cap space for next season. These overages could have been a possibility given the number of players the Bruins have on entry-level deals who are eligible for bonuses based off individual and team performance.

As for what the Bruins gave up, the second-rounder is the key piece for the Devils while losing the fourth-rounder doesn’t hurt too much, considering the prospect pool is still pretty well-stocked. What’s important here is that Sweeney was able to hold on to the first-round pick this year without surrendering significant prospects, so that’s a win.

Bruins sign Lee Stempniak

Grade: C+

On Sunday, the Bruins signed Stempniak to a one-year, $650,000 contract; the 36-year-old had been skating with the Bruins all season during practices before recently joining Providence on a PTO. Shortly after signing, the Dartmouth College product was placed on waivers with the purpose of being assigned to Providence.

Stempniak suited up in a few preseason games with the Bruins and had a goal and two assists (his power-play goal is at 1:43 of the video below). In Providence this year, Stempniak has 2-2-4 in four games played. The winger is also two seasons removed from 16-24-40 totals with Carolina after a year in which he had 19-32-51 between New Jersey and Boston (three goals and 10 points with the Bruins in 19 games played). So, he might even be able to chip in a few goals like Brian Gionta last year.

This move isn’t much at all, really. Think of Stempniak as last year’s Gionta; he’s a cheap, depth insurance policy, who costs nothing but cash and may step in for a few games in a pinch. Stempniak gets another shot to live his dream, and the Bruins add to their depth; a status quo move–no issues to be had here.

Bruins acquire Charlie Coyle for Ryan Donato and a 2019 conditional 5th-round pick

Grade: B

The first domino to fall for the Bruins, Coyle has already played a game for the Bruins while Johansson will play tomorrow. The 26-year-old always seemed to leave something to be desired in Minnesota, in spite of flashes he’s shown here and there.

The Boston University product has 10-18-28 totals this season in 61 games played and is on pace for 13 goals and 37 points. Like Johansson, Coyle brings versatility to the Bruins’ lineup as he can play anywhere in the middle-six at either wing or center, but in a different way as Coyle is a bigger, heavier player. The East Weymouth, MA native, had a decent outing in his Bruins debut, including this slick shootout goal:

Coyle has previously scored at least 15 goals twice, including one twenty-goal year, and has totaled at least 40 points twice, including one fifty-point season. So, he’s shown flashes of what he can do. The forward has a cap hit of $3.2-million through the end of next season, so he adds flexibility to the Bruins’ salary structure for next season as well.

In terms of what the Bruins surrendered, it sucks to see Donato go, honestly. The Harvard product is still a fine prospect with an elite, accurate shot. The 22-year-old isn’t necessarily the fastest skater, and is a one-dimensional player as of right now, though; however, the Bruins did not really do much to develop his weaknesses and defensive inefficiencies. Also, Donato was never really in a position to thrive with the Bruins as he was merely utilized on either the third or fourth lines and the power play, really.

As for the pick, it can become a fourth-rounder in 2019 (NYR) if the Bruins advance to the second round of the playoffs. I won’t lose sleep over giving up a fifth or fourth-round pick, but what is annoying is the condition put on it since the Bruins had a solid chance of winning a round in the first place.

Overall Trade Deadline Grade: B

While the Bruins did address there two most glaring issues this season, you can’t help but feel a little disappointed after the Bruins reportedly lost out on Gustav Nyquist and did not acquire a big fish, like Mark Stone, who they were reportedly very interested in. However, adding Coyle, Johansson, and Stempniak only adds to the depth of the team as Coyle and Johansson could be very impactful players for the Bruins with Stempniak as insurance.

All in all, not a bad Trade Deadline for Don Sweeney and the Bruins, but not a great one either–just solid. With the Bruins hitting their stride lately with a 13-game point streak, adding to this rolling team just makes it that much more formidable going forward, We’ll just have to wait and see how things pan out down the stretch and into the playoffs for this year’s Bruins team.

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Boston Bruins: Marcus Johansson Is Not A Bad Consolation Prize

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images-Mike Stobe

By: Michael DeRosa | Check me out on Twitter @michael_derosa4

He may not be Mark Stone or Artemi Panarin, but Marcus Johansson is a solid addition to the Boston Bruins. At the final minutes of the Trade Deadline, the Bruins finally brought in their much needed forward. To secure Johansson’s services, the  Bruins parted ways with this season’s second-round pick, as well as their 2020 fourth-round pick. This is a pretty small price for a player of Johansson’s caliber. In 48 games this season, Johansson has 12 goals and a fairly impressive 27 points.

One important factor to note about Johansson is that he has been playing on a Devils team that has struggled immensely to put up any offense. This is displayed by the fact that they are in the bottom portion of the Eastern Conference standings. However, Johansson truly could see his offensive numbers spike, especially with him expected to join the second-line. This may change when David Pastrnak comes back, but that is not expected to occur for at least another two weeks. That is a major reason why a trade for Johansson needed to happen now.

When observing this roster all season, it has been clear that secondary scoring was desperately needed. Nobody has been able to slot into the second-line effectively, but Johansson should be able to do so. In a worst-case scenario, Johansson could end up playing on the third line with the newly acquired Charlie Coyle. That certainly would not look bad either, as it is clear that they have added a significant depth piece to this fine roster.

Johansson also is a player who has had a lot of playoff experience because of his tenure with the Washington Capitals. Although he was not part of the team during their Stanley Cup win last postseason, he played in them consistently since the start of his career. In 72 career playoff games, he has registered 30 points. That definitely does not scream clutch, but it is essential to remember that his playing time was limited throughout a lot of their postseason runs. His best postseason came in 2017 when he registered 8 points in 13 games, due to the fact that he had a much bigger role that year. Oh, and he scored the series-winning goal against the Leafs that postseason.

There is absolutely no question that the idea of adding a superstar to the team this Trade Deadline was one that many fans were yearning for. Although the Bruins are legitimate contenders, they have a serious uphill battle with teams like the Toronto Maple Leafs and Tampa Bay Lightning in their way. However, they clearly made the right call with this move. Instead of throwing away at least one top prospect, a roster player and their first-round pick for a rental, they kept the team together and made them far deeper. This is a trade that has far less of a risk factor than last year’s Rick Nash one as well.

At the end of the day, it is exciting that Johansson is part of the team. He has a wonderful chance to play with some spectacular players in Boston. There is no question that Jake DeBrusk will love to have another passer on his line. This will provide him with more scoring opportunities. When looking at this team now versus a week ago, they truly are far deeper and are poised to make some noise in the postseason. Overall, General Manager Don Sweeney does deserve some praise for this last-minute deal, instead of the harsh criticism that seems to be coming his way.

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Bruins Game 63 Preview: San Jose Sharks

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PHOTO CREDITS: (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

By: Max Mainville | Check me out on Twitter @tkdmaxbjj

The Trade Deadline has officially past and the road to the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs is upon us. The Bruins’ seven-game winning streak game to an end on Saturday in a loss to the St. Louis Blues – a shootout loss, to conclude the five-game western road trip. Finally, the Bruins are back at home after earning nine-out-of-ten points on the road swing. The Bruins are narrowly holding onto the second Atlantic division spot, a mere point ahead of Toronto.

The San Jose Sharks lost to the Bruins last week in a controversial, but entertaining 6-5 overtime game. Since then, San Jose shutout the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-0, then lost two nights later 4-0 to the Columbus Blue Jackets, followed by a 5-3 win over Detroit on Sunday. The Sharks are three points behind the Calgary Flames for first in the Pacific division and hold a 13-point lead over the Golden Knights.

Starting Goaltenders:

BOS: Jaroslav Halak 16-9-4 2.33 GAA .924 SV% Last Game: 31 Saves in 3-2 win vs VGK

SJS: Martin Jones 29-12-5 2.92 GAA .897 SV% Last Game: 19 Saves in 4-0 loss vs CBJ

Who’s Hot

Jaroslav Halak had a tough time to begin 2019, going 1-3-1 in the opening month of January, but since, the 33-year-old goaltender now has three straight wins in net for the Bruins, including a thirty-save shutout over the Anaheim Ducks on February 15th. In those three starts, Halak has not had a save percentage below .939, solidifying his hot stretch. This season, Jaro has a 2.33 goals-against-average along with a .924 save percentage.

Brent Burns is on pace for another Norris-contending season as one of the best defencemen in the entire league. The Barrie, Ontario, Canada native has 2-5-7 numbers in his last five games including a three-point game against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Burns leads the Sharks for most points this year with thirteen goals and fifty-seven assists for seventy points in sixty-three games.

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Marcus Johansson, the lone player acquired by the Bruins on deadline day has had a solid last five games for his old team, the New Jersey Devils. The 28-year-old forward has five points in those five games including a two-point outing against the Pittsburgh Penguins on February 19th. Head Coach Bruce Cassidy announced that the newest addition to the roster will play alongside David Krejci in his Boston Bruins debut tonight.

Joe Pavelski has had two, three-point nights in the past four games. On February 15th, Pavelski scored a goal and two assists against the Bruins in the 6-5 defeat and more recently, scored a hat-trick in Sunday’s victory over the Detroit Red Wings. Pavelski has the most points by a forward on San Jose this year with 35-24-59 numbers in 63 games.

Who’s Not

Marcus Sorensen is one of the younger pieces to this San Jose Sharks team, but the 26-year-old forward has only a single assist in his last six games, coming against Boston. Sorensen’s ice-time has been decreasing over the last few games due to the lack of production and the Sharks are hoping that he can somehow turn it around for them.

Joakim Nordstrom is back in the lineup for Peter Cehlarik tonight, but the Swedish forward has not found success in a longtime for this Bruins club still searching for more consistency when trailing down the forward core. Nordstrom has not scored a point in his last seventeen games played, keeping his season totals at 5-2-10. While not known for putting up high numbers, he is getting third-line minutes on most nights and he should be producing more than he has been.

Gustav Nyquist was recently traded to the San Jose Sharks in one of the first trades of the Trade Deadline, coming to the Sharks from the Red Wings. Nyquist, who was on the struggling Wings, has only two points in his last five contests, even when averaging close to twenty minutes per game on that stretch. His lack of scoring as of late may change with a new environment like the Sharks, but that is to be seen when he makes his debut with the Teal and Black tonight.

Milestone Watch

Boston Bruins:

  • D Zdeno Chara is one goal away (199) from 200 career NHL goals
  • D Charlie McAvoy will be playing in his 99th career NHL regular season game
  • F Patrice Bergeron is three points away (790) from tying Wayne Cashman (793) for 6th most points in Bruins history
  • F Patrice Bergeron is one even-strength goal away (203) from passing Peter McNab (203) for sole possession of 8th most even-strength goals in Bruins history
  • F Brad Marchand is one short-handed goal away (24) from tying Rick Middleton (25) for most SHG in Bruins history
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PHOTO CREDITS: (Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images North America)

San Jose Sharks:

  • F Melker Karlsson is three points away (97) from 100 career NHL points
  • F Kevin Lebanc is two points away (98) from 100 career NHL points
  • D Brendan Dillion is four points (96) from 100 career NHL points
  • F Tomas Hertl is one even-strength goal away (81) from tying Marco Sturm (82) for most even-strength goals in Sharks history
  • D Brent Burns is one power-play goal away (42) from tying Jeff Friesen (43) for 7th most PPG in Sharks history

Bruins vs Sharks Outlook

The Boston Bruins are finally back in the walls of the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts for a home game after the successful five-game road trip through the Western Conference. The Bruins faced the Sharks last week and walked away with a 6-5 win on the road. Boston once held a 3-0 lead in the opening period, but with a late first-period goal, the Sharks managed to claw their way back to eventually take a 5-4 lead. A tying goal by Chris Wagner led to the game-winning goal in overtime by Charlie McAvoy gave the Bruins a hard-fought “W” in the win column.

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Neville E. Guard/USA TODAY Sports Images)

Boston still has the second-best power-play in the NHL (26.4%), while San Jose has the 5th-best at 25.0% on the man-advantage. On the PK, the B’s have the eleventh-best, killing off 81.0% of the penalties against compared to the Sharks who have the seventh-best penalty-kill percentage in the league at 81.9%.

Puck drop is scheduled for 7pm EST in the TD Garden. Boston will look to earn at least a  point for the fourteenth consecutive game. Below are the lines for the Bruins tonight. Forward Charlie Coyle makes his TD Garden home debut while Marcus Johansson makes his debut with the Spoked-B sweater on. Defenceman Kevan Miller is out day-to-day with an upper-body injury, John Moore will replace him. David Pastrnak remains out for at least another two weeks (thumb). Also, Joakim Nordstrom replaces Peter Cehlarik.

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